Cardboard Boxes and Blank Walls- the Challenge of Every Military Wife

© Judy H. Wright

What do you mean we have to be across the country next week?  How can the kids be pulled out of sports, school and the arms of their best friends again? Good thing we still have some of the cardboard boxes left from the last move. We never got around to unpacking them, so that is even better. At least the content is written on the outside of the box.  The majority of the boxes ended up with labels of Kitchen Misc. or Bathroom stuff or “I Hate This Crap-I Don’t Want to Move-signed by The Indentured Servant Who Wanted to Go to The Mall Today”

One would think after 12 moves in 15 years, a smart family would begin to simplify their possessions. A smart family would rid themselves of old yearbooks, unused cookbooks, scruffy stuffed animals and pans with no lids.  A smart family would just look for the nail in the walls and hang their pictures on them, regardless of placement.  By the time we found the separate boxes holding the hammer, level, hooks and pictures, it was almost time to move again.

No, we weren’t the smartest family in the military, but we were one of the most grateful.  We were filled with gratitude for each other, the ability to see the country and to make new friends and grateful for the experiences along the way.

One particular pivotal experience was moving into military housing on Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. As Dwain and I were unloading boxes, the children ran into the back yard to explore.  They came rushing back to tell us about the strange “thistles” all over the place.

Always the teacher, I called everyone around to tell them about artichokes.  I explained how delicious they were and that we would savor them at a coming meal.  I also used the teaching moment to say that the people who had lived here before had planted the artichokes, knowing that they may never see the fruits of their labor.  Given that it takes artichokes two years to produce, they were leaving a gift for us.

We talked about how we must follow their example and plant seeds everywhere we went. We would plant vegetable seeds, flower seeds, but most of all we would plant the seeds of kindness. We may never see the fruits of our labors just like the family before us, but we would do it anyway.

As we sat on cardboard boxes and looked at blank walls, we feasted on artichokes and butter and praised those who had given us this gift.

Our daughter Deb remarked that the artichoke was like some of the families I work with as a parent educator; the outer edges are tough, closed off and have prickly parts that can hurt if you get too close.  It is only through time, warmth and patience that we can find the outer leaves peeling off more easily and we reach the real treasure- the heart.

The artichoke is now my logo and stands as a symbol of finding the heart of the story in the journey of life. Our journey with cardboard boxes, blank walls and a military life may be a thing of the past, but the life lessons and forever friends will always remain in our hearts.

About the author:

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, the storytelling trainer is an Author, International Speaker and Life Educator who owns and operates in beautiful Missoula, Montana  She runs a global online business from her home office marketing eBooks, tele-classes, newsletters, family coaching and a number of related products. At you will receive free articles and a subscription to the newsletter The Artichoke-finding the heart of the story in the journey of life.

A recent client said, “Being with Judy, whether in person, print or tele-class is like having a cup of tea with a loving Auntie who wants the best for you and yours.”

You will find her work warm, witty and packed with wisdom to make your life easier and more abundant.

Carboard Boxes and Blank Walls – The Challenge of Every Military Wife

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